What is emotional affair?
How is it different from just plain friendship with the opposite sex?
How can we differentiate emotional affair from just a genuinely honest and non-malicious interaction with our co workers, friends or acquaintances?
What is the thin red line that separates a platonic relationship from an affair? These are just a few questions that people ask when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of cheating.
First stop, we need to define what an emotional affair is from cheating. Emotional affair does not necessarily mean that your partner is already having sex with the other person.
However, this is only the gateway to most known cases of infidelity.
Although, having emotional attachments to another person does not warrant anyone to be breaking the law in any state or country, it is a highly dangerous ground that can ultimately result to cheating when left unresolved.
No one ever got to jail because of developing romantic feelings for another person other than your wife or husband but if you act on these feelings in sexual ways it can cost you a night behind bars, bail money and an expensive visit to your attorney.
Emotional affairs play more closely to the word ‘intent’.
As every spiritual teacher would suggest that all action begins from the mind, developing thoughts about another person in a sexual or romantic notion is the beginning of cheating. An emotional affair generally starts innocently as a friendship.
If a person invests emotional energy and time with another person other than the spouse or committed relationship it creates a strong emotional bond which can greatly impact the intimacy of an existing relationship.
Let’s paint the picture, shall we?
Say that a male boss, who is already married, decides to spend more time with his female assistant in the office.
They work big projects on very long hours, travel thrice a week to many different sites side-by-side in a small constricted airplane with seats the sizes of public toilets, stay up late in the office hours after every person in the entire 50-storey building has gone home.
The time and amount of energy they spend with each other inevitably develops a sense of close partnership and bonding.
They become dependent on one another and eventually begin to communicate in ways that show deep concern, care and appreciation for each other.
Emotional affair usually begins with the change in the way they address each other. From a professional to a more personal then eventually to a more playful way of calling each other.
Mr. Smith becomes Ronald, and Miss Harper, over time, changes to Ashley.
A sense of formality is lost because the close bond begins to make them feel uncomfortable to be less personable to each other. In time then Ronald becomes “Ron” and Ashley becomes “Ash”. They begin calling each other with nicknames.
As time goes by their newly-discovered friendship allows them to freely exercise their right to be more creative and imaginative.
Since they see that the other person do not mind to be called by their nicknames, why not make things interesting and transform them into pet names, usually derived from jokes or commonly shared circumstances that they find endearing such as “Snore man” or “Ketchup Queen”.
They later on feel the need to meet each other even on non- working days because they feel like they have a responsibility towards the tasks on hand and to each other.
No one wants to disappoint the other, just like in any partnership. They form a team and develop a sudden urge to protect one another at all costs.
Conversations then lead to more personal matters. On certain hard days the pressure becomes unbearable that Ron begins to share his daily mundane issues at home when he should have been consulting his wife about them.
Ash on the other hand, preconditioned to be by his side due to the intense working relationship they have formed, begins to feel like she should do something about it, to “protect” Ron from having such feelings of grief, or just plain irritability and discomfort.
They hold each other’s hand through the process. She becomes more important and valuable to him, an asset which he can no longer let go of. He, in turn, becomes a person that she needs to rescue.
Canceling her dates on the weekends she, instead, of sits on a chair right next to him in a nice fine dining restaurant, discussing his inner child and how he used to be a hippie back in college. Thus a well-functioning, co-dependent relationship develops.
The former platonic friendship can begin to form a strong emotional bond. While there are people who believe that an emotional affair is harmless, most marriage counselors look at an emotional affair as cheating without having sex. Emotional affairs are often the source of full blown sexual infidelity.
For some individuals, the most hurtful and painful consequences of an emotional affair is the sense of being deceived, betrayed, and lied to even if there is no sex involved.
A frequent touching, holding or expressing of affection between two members of the opposite sex can develop certain romantic feelings over time.
Being strongly attracted to a close friend whom you interact with constantly can turn into an emotional affair.
Any form of intent, thought, emotion or feeling that you nurture within your spirit can be considered cheating because the fact that you lacked the intent to extinguish the build-up of these malicious feelings means that you are a willing party.
An emotional affair is when a person also receives emotional support and companionship from the new relationship.
In an emotional affair, a person feels closer to the third party as opposed to the existing romantic relationship, and may experience heightening sexual tension.
A partner who is engaging with a third person does not often feel the guilt of an emotional affair because sex isn’t involved, instead, the spouse or other person in their committed relationship experience the pain and hurt because it is just as damaging as a sexual affair.
A good way to determine the difference between a platonic friendship and an emotional affair is when an interaction with the third party is being kept a secret.
Another determinant is when the persons in the emotional affair feel a sexual interest or attraction toward each other, whether or not they blatantly acknowledge such magnetism.
There are many ways that differentiate certain relationships and as much as people are afraid to label their relationship with the people they interact with, they also need to acknowledge the importance of recognizing and highlighting the line the separates each category for the sake of clarity and self honesty.
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